Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What do we eat?

Kristianna wrote in asking what our normal menu looks like. While we are no longer officially on the Whole30, we usually still eat like it.  After being on the Whole30, sweet treats like Paleo Berry Breakfast Cake seem very rich, even with the minimal amount of honey or maple syrup.  I made them last night (as muffins) for breakfast this morning, and I just couldn't stand to eat one, but the kids really loved them.

I do think that treats like that make the big lifestyle change of going Paleo much easier on children.  (Especially if you bring it to a potluck where you know there will be a lot of desserts they can't have or to a birthday party where the sugary icing, dyes, and chemical-cake will make them extremely sick.)

I made a double recipe of the breakfast cake which made about two dozen muffins (could have made about 30 if I would have made them a tad smaller).

These treats are well-loved by all five of kiddos from youngest [Molly Jo] and oldest [Merikalyn]. (One batch I made with strawberries, another I made with Enjoy Life chocolate chips.)

Obviously the kids can't have these every morning.  After all, we don't want to replace old bad habits with new slightly healthier bad habits, but treats are nice now and then.

Here's what we might have for breakfast any given week.  We tend to eat a lot of eggs because it's kind of one of those no-brainer things, but after a month or two you will find yourself growing very weary of eggs so you'll likely want to try different things. Remember, you don't have to eat breakfast foods for breakfast. You could have a hamburger patty and a sweet potato instead!


  • Paleo Banana Bread
  • Paleo Granola with Almond or Coconut milk (add in bananas and other fruit to really amp up the flavor)
  • Frittata loaded with veggies (like tomatoes and zucchini) and meats like smoked sausage or breakfast sausage (Look for ones with no nitrates and no MSG).
  • Baked Cinnamon Banana boats with a side of eggs
  • Eggs and bacon (It is incredibly difficult to find sugar-free bacon, so we have just bought the brands that have no nitrates and the least amount of sugar and not worried about it. Buy the best quality you can afford, organic if possible.  Some people buy sugar-free bacon online but I would not spend that much money on bacon! No thanks!)
  • Eggs and breakfast sausage (No Nitrates and no MSG)
  • Egg Muffins (Basically egg and whatever else you want baked in a muffin cup. Be sure to really grease the muffin cup or line it with bacon so that it doesn't stick. I like silicone cups as there is no sticking.)
  • Fried egg with avocado on top
  • Breakfast hash (we like to use roasted butternut squash, ground breakfast sausage, and eggs).
  • Or something like this, below, which is a fried egg (yolk firm) with green onions "wrapped" in (no nitrate) ham.  Also known as hubby's breakfast this morning.


Sometimes I just lay out a big platter of cucumbers, carrots, celery, chicken or ham, and some bananas for the kid to attack for lunch, but that doesn't usually work for me.  Those typical sandwiches are out, so I now think of lunch as I would supper.  If I need something light, a salad will work.

  • Grilled chicken on romaine with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts
  • Hamburger stew (there are a variety of recipes out there for hamburger stew, but for us, it's basically ground beef, carrots, tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, potato bites, and peas, which some Paleo folks do not eat.)
  • Stuffed Bellpeppers (no rice, of course, but you could use "riced" cauliflower)
  • Sausage and stewed cabbage
  • Paleo chili and hot dogs (no nitrates, no msg)
  • Shrimp salad
  • Hamburger patty with avocado, lettuce, onions, pickles, bacon, and whatever else you like on top. (This is a great "out to eat" meal, since there inevitably comes a time when you have to Whole30 out on the town.  We like to eat at Five Guys and Fries and Smash Burger.  And, since we allow ourselves to break some rules, we sometimes have their fries as well.)
  • Baked chicken breasts with zucchini (layer sliced zucchini under the chicken before you bake, and add in a little bit of water. Season the water/zucchini well before placing the chicken (which you also should season well) on top. Viola, one dish wonder!)
  • Grilled sausages (we like pork and green onion- you can buy them fresh from the butcher department at the grocery store) with grilled squash or asparagus
  • Tuna salad (Note: It is pretty much impossible to find Paleo Mayo, so you can try making it yourself. If that is not an option for you, or you have tried many times and failed, and you must, must, must have mayo, go for best option available, which will NOT be among the major brands.  For those days when the kids are begging for tuna salad [I personally hate fish, but love shrimp], we go for The Ojai Cook Lemonaise which is made with Pure Expeller Pressed Canola Oil (which is NOT paleo), Water, Cage Free Whole Eggs, Creole Mustard, Lemon, Juice Concentrate, Cage Free Egg Yolks, Salt, Distilled Vinegar and Garlic.  It's is VERY flavorful and makes super yummy tuna, I hear.  Our goal is not really to fit all the guidelines so we can call ourselves Paleo, but to make as many changes as we can to have a healthy lifestyle, so not everything we eat is Paleo.)

We cut out most snacking when we were on the Whole30, but I found the kids typically needed a snack between lunch and supper, especially if supper wouldn't be until six or seven.  

  • A palm full of nuts (no peanuts!)
  • Homemade trail mix (nuts, seeds, and raisins or craisins- be aware that most brands of craisins have added sugar).
  • A banana, apple, or orange
  • Carrots
  • Lara bar  (make sure you don't get the peanut ones).
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Apple sauce (no sugar added)
  • A few slices of bacon (if you bake a bunch ahead of time [lay out on a pan in a single layer, bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes depending on thickness] and put it in the fridge, it's super tasty to have for snacks, especially dipped in guacamole)
  • A box of raisins
  • Sweet potato chips (You could make these yourself, but every now and then I come across some at Sprouts or Whole Foods which is Whole30 compliant.  Sometimes I will buy some that are not Paleo, because they are made with Sunflower oil, though.)

  • Apple and Cabbage Baked Chicken Casserole (we also add in sausage to it feeds our whole family, and I use as many chicken breasts as I can fit. 
  • Crockpot roast with garlic, onions, carrots and potatoes (you can use white if you're okay with white potatoes, or sweet potatoes)
  • Oven barbecue ribs with cole slaw mixed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (I love this recipe from Cook Like Your Grandmother, which is not Paleo/Whole30 because of the brown sugar but I'm going to attempt my own version this week. My husband smokes ribs like a pro because, um, he is a pro, but sometimes it's just not feasible for him to do any grilling or smoking, so it's nice to have a back up recipe I can use to do it in the oven rather than try my hand at burning the house down smoking meat. Do some web searching and I am sure you can find a Whole30 rib recipe. )
  • Chicken thighs (with skin and bones) and brussel sprouts (I heavily season the thighs on both sides and brown them in some coconut oil in a big pot while I cut up some onions, celery, and garlic.  Then I toss in those veggies, and when they've softened I deglaze the pan with two or so cups of water. I season the water with salt and such, then let it all simmer, covered, for a while as I cut the brussel sprouts in half.  When the chicken is almost done, I toss in the brussel sprouts, cover, and allow to simmer 10 or so more minutes. And then, there it is, another one pot meal!)
  • Grilled chicken with a side salad
  • Juicy grilled steak with a sweet potato and green beans
  • Cubed Steak, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers (another one-dish-wonder)
  • Meatballs and spaghetti squash with marinara sauce
  • Crockpot (whole) chicken with whatever I have left over to throw together as a side.

Note: We do eat white potatoes in our family. We are a large family, and while most Paleo folks do not consume white potatoes, well, we do.  We loved loaded baked potatoes (a variety of meats, olives, onions, and such with lots of butter) and we sometimes use them in breakfast hash.  This also means we enjoy fries now and then (but not from McDonald's- believe me, after being on the Whole30 and eating real food, McD's fries, which used to be so yummy and appealing, will taste like chemical garbage).

If you get in a rut, check out pinterest or do some searching on the web.  I really love one-dish dinners and crockpot meals, especially in the summer or when our schedule gets pretty busy and I don't have a lot of time to think about meals. That way I only have to think about meals in the morning...

For example:

As I'm preparing a frittata I cut up extra tomatoes to use in the hamburger stew I'm making for lunch.  While the frittata is baking, I brown up a bunch of ground beef- some for the hamburger stew, some for the chili I am making tomorrow. I also chop up celery, onions, and potatoes for both the hamburger stew and the crockpot roast I'm preparing for dinner.  By the time breakfast is done, the crockpot is simmering for dinner's meal and the pot on top of the stove is simmering with a soup for lunch.  There you go, all my meal work is done in the morning, and I don't have anything to do but serve it when lunch and supper roll around!

Don't be fooled though, it doesn't always work this way.  I am still trying to get into a steady routine!  Sometimes I wake up and tell the kids to dig into the emergency gluten-free cereal (which is not grain-free) before I fall back into bed.

Okay, so, that should give you an idea of what we do.  I apologize that it's not better organized, and there are probably loads of typos, but I have to get the crockpot started, so.. I'm out.


Meagan said...

Great post! I'm on day 19 and running out of ideas :)

DaBlairs said...

this was incredibly helpful - thank you!